Senior UAE Official Says Turkey-Arab Relations 'not in Best State'
DUBAI (Reuters) – A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Saturday Turkey’s policy towards neighboring Arab states was not reasonable and advised it to respect their sovereignty.
REPORING BY MAHA EL DAHAN; EDITING BY CLELIA OZIEL
Relations between the two countries have been strained by Ankara’s support for Qatar after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Doha last year over its alleged support for Islamist militants. Qatar denies the accusations.
“It is no secret that Arab-Turkish relations aren’t in their best state,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted.
“In order to return to balance, Ankara has to respect Arab sovereignty and deal with its neighbors with wisdom and rationality,” he said.
The UAE sees itself as a bulwark against political forms of Islam, and views Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted ruling AK party as a supporter of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood which it opposes.
They were drawn into a quarrel in December over a retweet by the Emirati foreign minister that Erdogan called an insult.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan shared a tweet at the time that accused Turkish troops of looting the holy city of Medina a century ago, prompting Erdogan to lash out saying that the minister had been spoiled by oil money.